I wanted a lightweight laptop as an on-the-couch programming machine to run PyCharm, Emacs, and make some things with Python. Something with a good keyboard, screen resolution higher than 1280×800, and one of those trackpoint mouse things. Budget: $200
I found the X300 pretty easily on Amazon, and the one review seemed pretty convincing. The 2008 MSRP was almost $3000; 2014 Amazon cost: $229. Done!
- 1440×900 screen resolution
- 2.9 pounds
- Anecdotal evidence points to good keyboard
- Core 2 duo 1.2 GHz is a little dated, I guess
- Maxes out at 4 GB ram (Maybe 8?)
- Somewhat rare 1.8 inch drive
- No card reader
The 64 GB SSD had been replaced by an 80 GB HDD (I knew that when I bought it, I’d planned on saving that drive anyway to keep the copy of Windows safe if I found someone who needed it more). A quick Amazon search turned up a 60 GB SSD for around $80. Seems reasonable, let’s do it! (Current total: $309)
If I’d done a little more digging I would have found the mSATA-to-1.8-inch tray adapter. For the 60 GB SSD I put in it works out about the same price as the adapter+ an mSATA card, but the adapted mSATA seems to be a little cheaper for higher capacities.
- Battery life is super terrible
Ok sure, the battery is like 6 years old now, and there’s no telling what the elite executive previous owner was putting it through. I’ll update if I can coax more than an hour out of it.
Other possible upgrades:
The slim optical drive is easily removable once you
remove the keyboard and battery. You’ll see a place under where the keyboard was that you can push it out some. I tried just pulling it out, ended up exerting more force than I was comfortable with while not budging at all. follow Robert Smith’s advice and watch this video https://youtu.be/5bD1qXfmnfg
The drive bay can now host a 3-cell battery or a caddy that will hold a regular 2.5 inch drive.
The fun starts here
I don’t recommend installing alternative operating systems unless you have time to spare and hair you don’t mind pulling out. However, I do encourage it.
I installed Ubuntu 14.04 from an SD card plugged into a USB drive, then immediately installed the Bodhi Enlightenment Desktop because… well, because it looks amazing.
Sure, you can get a new laptop for maybe a little more, but the X300 is a pleasure to code on. For me.